Mingwei Lee

Conceptual rituals that help others see ritual in a new light

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The boy continued to meditate. One day he heard a strange noise coming from the box. He opened it and hundreds of tiny flies escaped into the room. As they flew up from the box, the boy lifted his eyes and saw his master standing in front of him. 'Good luck,' the master said, smiling. 'You can go down the mountain now.'

That boy was Mingwei Lee, now a 33-year-old conceptual artist whose powerful, healing work blurs all boundaries between East and West, the spiritual and the earthly, art and life. 'Whenever I'm stressed out or depressed, I remember my master's gift to me,' says Lee. 'It was about transformation of energy, of material, of life, from a dead bird -- which used to fly -- to hundreds of these flies. And it